The Allure of a Sticky Ball: THE VIRTUAL ARTIST

THE VIRTUAL ARTIST

Can't stand video games? Then you may be on your way to becoming a top game designer. That, at least, is the counterintuitive experience of Keita Takahashi, the Japanese creator of the offbeat international hit known as Katamari Damacy. The addictive game involves a cosmic prince rolling a sticky ball around a colorful landscape filled with things to pick up; it looks like manga meets Monty Python and sounds like Hello Kitty does hip-hop, and that has everything to do with the creator's inexperience. "I don't play games," he insists. "There are too many unoriginal ones." In 1999 when he took a job...